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Flyers won't rush Patrick to NHL: report

No. 2 pick in 2017 Draft finally healthy, but center could return to junior team 'if he needs time'

NHL.com @NHL

Center Nolan Patrick, the second player taken in the 2017 NHL Draft, is 100 percent healthy and can go all out when Philadelphia Flyers rookie camp begins Sept. 11, general manager Ron Hextall told philly.com.

"He's cleared and he's good to go," Hextall said this week of Patrick, who had his second abdominal surgery 10 days before Philadelphia selected him June 23.

However, the Flyers "are not going to force him into our lineup," Hextall said. 

"He's got to come in and show us that he can help make us a better team and that it's the right thing for us," he said. "It's truly that simple. We've got numbers. We don't have to have him. We've got other kids who can play and we have veterans, so we're in a good position with him."

Video: Reaction to Nolan Patrick being picked at #2 overall

Patrick, who turns 19 on Sept. 19, has been on the ice and working out this summer, Hextall said, after being limited to 33 games for Brandon of the Western Hockey League last season because of his first sports hernia surgery. Patrick, who finished with 46 points (20 goals, 26 assists), estimates he was 60 to 75 percent healthy last season.

Hextall also said the Flyers won't be disappointed if Patrick is sent back to Brandon. He can play nine regular-season games before Philadelphia must decide whether to keep him or return him to his junior team.

"Absolutely not. If he needs time, he needs time," Hextall said. "We're going to have Nolan Patrick for the next 10, 15 years, not one day or one month or two months. We're looking at the next 15 years and what's best for Nolan Patrick. If it's best to go back to Brandon, then he'll go back to Brandon. If it's best to stay here, he'll stay here."

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